Monday, June 2, 2008

The Wonder of Coconut

It was funny when my friend’s husband (American) bought her a few cans of coconut milk. He thought Filipinos drink that coconut milk, hahaha! Actually, we do drink water that comes with the coconut called “coconut juice”. The old people said it’s good for the kidney.

The Philippines is the world's second largest producer of coconut products, after Indonesia. About 25 percent of cultivated land was planted in coconut trees, and it is estimated that between 25 percent and 33 percent of the population was at least partly dependent on coconuts for their livelihood. Most part of the coconut palm is useful from its body, fruits, leaves, roots and even to its shell. It has become popular in culinary, medicine, cosmetics, furniture, diesel fuel and charcoal just to name a few.
When I was a kid, every time our neighbor had coconut harvest, I’m always excited. I loved looking at all those coconuts rolling around the grounds. We just patiently wait for the farmers to come down then we can gather the young coconuts and they gave it to us free. Our neighbor used to have this big hole where they make a slow fire with the charcoals and on top of it (about 6 feet) is a floor made up of bamboo. All the coconut meat are laid and have it cooked slowly or they literally make an oven out of it. That’s the easiest to way to dry the coconut meat especially when it’s rainy season. After it’s dry enough then its brought to the trader to be weighed. It’s called “Copra” and is further processed become a coconut oil.
I still remember our neighbor would wake up very early in the morning to gather all the juices from the coconut trees. If it’s fresh out from the coconut then it’s called coconut wine or if it’s being preserved then it becomes vinegar after few weeks.
Those people that are employed out of the coconut industry tended to be less educated and older than the average person in the rural labor force and earned lower-than-average incomes. However, you can’t just underestimate that. I can’t hardly believe that this neighbor of ours had been able to put his kids through college with just the money he make from his little coconut farm. Some of the kids became a Doctor, Nurses and even a Lawyer. Wow! He was one of those persons I really looked up when I was a kid. Sometimes, some people are just not aware that they have been able to touch other people’s lives with just a simple, decent act.

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